Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SICKENED by Julie Gregory (2004)

Little Julie was very slim and fragile. Because of this her mother was always claiming that her daughter was constantly ill. At the beginning it was a migraine, than many allergies, in the end Julie, thanks to her mother, was almost subjected to open heart surgrey. She had to bear lots of unnecessary medical check-ups and tests. It was sometimes very painful for Julie, but seemed to be a pleasure for her mother who was always excited in front of the doctors or preparing Julie to look ill. Julie's duty was to "show them how sick you are and let's get to the bottom of this."  If a doctor refused another test he was labeled an "incompetent son of a bitch".
It would be amusing if wasn’t true. Each kind of a child abuse is dreadful and misdeed but this kind is additionally ridiculous and tragic. Such mother seems to be a caring and loving parent but she in reality is a horror and a danger to her child.
Julie survived and escaped from her house. When she was over 30 she wrote this book.
Thanks to it we can learn about the Munchhausen-by-proxy syndrome which completely poisoned her childhood.  (submitted by Magdalena ƚmierzchalska)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sing You Home (2011)

This book has many medically related-themes.  Infertility, Music Therapy, Gay and Lesbian Rights.  It is lucidly written, and the audible version is interwoven with germane songs. The book is sold with a CDof the songs, as well.

Amazon Review: "Popular author Picoult tackles the controversial topic of gay rights in her latest powerful tale. When music therapist Zoe Baxter’s latest pregnancy ends in a stillbirth, her husband Max decides he can’t handle any more heartbreak and leaves her. As she picks up the pieces of her life, Zoe is surprised to find herself falling for a school counselor who happens to be a woman. While Zoe is finding happiness with Vanessa, Max falls off the wagon and is helped by a pastor from his brother’s evangelical church. Vanessa and Zoe wed in Massachusetts, and Vanessa offers to carry one of the fertilized embryos Zoe and Max stored. Excited by the prospect of being a mother, Zoe goes to Max to get him to release the embryos to her and is shocked when he instead sues her for custody of them, backed by his church. Told from the perspectives of all three major characters, Picoult’s gripping novel explores all sides of the hot-button issue and offers a CD of folk songs that reflect Zoe’s feelings throughout the novel. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The always topical Picoult plans a multimedia tour to more than two dozen cities with Ellen Wilber, who will perform the songs she and Picoult wrote together". --Kristine Huntley

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Defending Jacob (2012)

"On the surface, "Defending Jacob" is a clever blend of legal thriller and issue-oriented family implosion."  On a deeper level, it is about trhe sociopathic personality and the possibility that there is a genetic basis for homicidal behavior.  The book is worth reading for many reasons.  It is hard to put down and its thesis is thought provoking.

Monday, April 30, 2012


The Academic Minute had an interesting segment on Mermoirs (4/30/12)

Dr. G. Thomas Couser – Memoir and Social Change
This piece gives some insight into why these books are written.  Most of the Pathographies here are in the memoir genre.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blue Water, White Water (2011)

by Robert Samuels

Without self-pity, former New York City newspaperman and prize-winning magazine editor, Robert C. Samuels tells his own harrowing story of medical survival. He's filled it with tears, humor, love and triumph. "Audacious, brilliantly written, Blue Water, White Water, is a rare, first-person look at a world that is often closed to the average person. It is well worth your time," raves an early critic. "A riveting, vivid story!" Jan Dye Gussow, author of Growing Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables. "Producers will pounce. This book IS a movie!" Carolyn Fox, Entertainment News Calendar. "Should be required reading for all medical and nursing students! A must read!" Nursing Professor Barbara Riso, R.N. "Wow! Written with an amazing ability to portray a true, horrific story that keeps readers glued to the page and laughing at the same time," Peggy Whalen, R.N. "A powerful description of genuine helplessness," Tyler Lucas, M.D.

This is an important and amazing insight into survival in a hospital setting. Chaotic and funny by turns, Samuels' story is an important one and is told with eloquence and, at times, gallows humor. DJE

There was a fine review by Abigail Zuger in the NY Times on March 12, 2012.

Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die (2011)

by John Katz

Jon Katz has written meaningfully about the cherished bond between humans and animals—especially our intense connection to our pets. Now, in this moving and thoughtful book, Katz addresses the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a devoted companion, and offers comfort, wisdom, and a way forward from sorrow to acceptance.

When Jon Katz first brought Orson home, he couldn’t predict how this boisterous border collie would change his life, most notably by inspiring him to buy Bedlam Farm. Yet for all of Katz’s years as a dog owner, Orson’s death shook him in a deeply profound way. “I was embarrassed by my grief,” he remembers. “What right did I have to fall to pieces over a border collie?”

Drawing on personal experiences, stories from fellow pet owners, and philosophical reflections, Katz provides guidance and support for those in mourning. By allowing ourselves to grieve honestly and openly, he posits, we can in time celebrate the dogs, cats, and other creatures that have so enriched us. With great compassion, Katz compels us to consider if we gave our pets good lives, if we were their advocates in times of need, and if we used our best judgments in the end. In dealing with these issues, we can alleviate guilt, let go, and help others who are undergoing similar passages.

Full of empathy, insight, and sage advice, Going Home is an invaluable guide and touchstone for anyone who has lost a pet. Jon Katz honors the animals that have graced our lives and reveals their truly timeless gifts: unwavering companionship and undying love.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ALS Researcher Dies of ALS

Dr. Richard K. Olney, a leading physician and pioneer in clinical research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, died of the disease on Jan. 27, 2012 at his home in Corte Madera, Calif. He was 64.

This is an important obit of a researcher/patient with ALS. It's quite ironic and one would hope that some of his writings on the subject are available.

NY Times Obituary.

San Francisco Chronicle article about Dr. Olney (April 2011)


Sunday, January 15, 2012

One Washcloth, One Towel

by Katey Geyer Winant

Mrs. Winant writes: "The numbing agony after losing your spouse is so overwhelming. It is so devastating. I still feel shredded. It is my wish that reading this [book] will be of benefit to other women and men who have gone through the long, dark pathway of loss. My purposes and hope is that there will be points of identification that will click and be of comfort. Each of us has our own story."

This is a short, eloquent addition to the literature on grief. Jody Kordana brilliantly reviewed "One Washcloth, One Towel" in the January 15th Berkshire Eagle.